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Winter Care for Senior Horses

A little extra watchfulness will help keep your old guy healthy and happy throughout the winter. Here are some of our winter-care tips for senior horses.
Horse standing in a stall with snow outside.

Tips for older horses in winter

Your senior horse needs extra TLC in cold weather. Give him plenty of forage—such as hay—because it creates inner warmth as it’s metabolized. A good senior feed may be helpful, too, as a little extra weight can also help your oldster stay warm. Make sure he has adequate shelter, and if he’s wearing a blanket, check it often for rubs. Seniors often have weaker immune systems, so make sure yours is properly vaccinated, especially against flu. Exercise—such as gentle riding or hand walking—can boost health and help prevent or alleviate stiffness.

[READ: Watching My Senior Horse Age is Breaking My Heart]

Key Checks

A horse being brushed, an equine weight tape, and a horse drinking fresh water from a trough.


Watch especially for topline changes, skin problems, small wounds, foot issues.

weight loss

A weight tape is an easy way to check for incremental weight loss over the winter.

water source

Water should be fresh, plentiful, and of a temperature your horse finds drinkable.

“Critical temperature” is the temp chart.

Critical Temperatures

“Critical temperature” is the temp below which your horse must produce additional heat to maintain his normal body temperature. Seniors have a higher cut-off than mature horses do, so it’s even more important for them to have plenty of heat-generating feed when temperatures drop. 

Source: Purina Animal Nutrition